Carole Baskin, known for her role in the hit Netflix series “Tiger King,” officially debuted as a contestant on the new season of Dancing With the Stars this Monday.
The 29th Season of Dancing With the Stars has experienced some changes this time around. This, of course, includes replacing their longtime host Tom Bergeron, but also featuring a very interesting set of guests. The one reveal that threw viewers for a loop was the “Tiger King” star herself.
— clcnyc77 (@clcnyc77) September 15, 2020
Baskin is the CEO of a tiger preserve called Big Cat Rescue. She is also infamous for her role in the hit Netflix series that drew the attention of millions at the beginning of quarantine. As arch-nemesis of Joe Exotic, Baskin easily became one of the most criticized and talked about people on the internet for months after the show’s initial release.
omfg they did NOT purchase a tv spot during #dwts for Carole Baskin’s husband 😂😫
— b r i t t a n y (@weensandthings) September 15, 2020
During the premiere of Dancing With the Stars, Baskin made her debut and first dance to the track “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. With partner Pasha Pashkov, she performed the fox-trot and naturally, the internet went crazy. Baskin’s DWTS debut almost instantly became one of the most popular topics of conversation on Twitter.
bro Carole Baskin on DWTS has me weakk😂
— fruit of loomss (@loomis98) September 16, 2020
— kurapikaswife (@vuliynaa) September 15, 2020
Some social media users wondered if any of the judges would put Baskin on blast for her suspicious past. Others argued that the show should disqualify the “Tiger King” star due to the authorities conducting an active investigation around her husband’s disappearance. And as a result, many poked fun at Baskin for her scores and warned the judges to watch their backs.
the judges running to their cars to get home after they hear someone in the parking garage whisper “hey all you cool cats and kittens” after they gave carole baskin the worst score of the night #DWTS pic.twitter.com/cf1cYYz09b
— kathleen (@kathleen_hanley) September 15, 2020
There are lots of questions and curiosities about why Baskin was chosen to be a part of this season. One theory is that her appearance would boost ratings and draw in a younger audience. However, regardless of the reasoning, many are surprised at the show for featuring an “alleged murderer” despite all of the backlash they have received online.
In fact, the family of Don Lewis decided to take the opportunity to raise awareness about his disappearance during the show’s premiere. A commercial ran during Dancing With the Stars that promised a 100k reward to anyone with helpful information regarding Don Lewis’s disappearance and death.
Carole Baskin's missing husband's family is running a commercial during her DWTS debut! This shit is crazy! Tiger King has the gift that keeps on giving. pic.twitter.com/127NN0zWJJ
— MichaelBePetty (@MichaelBePetty) September 14, 2020
This commercial gained a lot of attention online. It was shared on and through a variety of social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram. Many TikTok users decided to film and share the video to their pages as well. This development further proves the theory that DWTS is gaining popularity in a whole new demographic: younger generations. The majority of TikTok users and those who browse that particular application are teenagers or younger. This is not the typical Dancing With the Stars audience.
A commercial that played during #DWTS from the family of Don Lewis, whose alleged murderer Carole Baskin is a featured “celebrity” on the show. This is an ongoing and open murder investigation. This woman is suspect #1 and should not be idolized. https://t.co/KhsH9XDobc
— shelby ♡ (@shelbymiller92) September 15, 2020
Videos of the commercial almost instantly went viral on TikTok, along with some entertaining reactions. Publications such as CBS and Variety even decided to highlight and draw attention to the ad in recent articles.
After watching “Tiger King,” the vast majority of viewers came to the conclusion that Baskin had killed her ex-husband, Don Lewis. Lewis went missing a day before he was supposed to take a trip to Costa Rica, but his body was never found. The widely-believed theory is that she fed him to her tigers. Joe Exotic has claimed that this theory is true and completely accurate.
He even made sure to remind viewers of the theory multiple times and provided information throughout “Tiger King” to attempt to back it up. Baskin and Exotic both own tiger preserves, but argued over animal rights issues and specifically how Joe was treating the animals he owned.
They should let Joe Exotic out of prison on furlough so he can compete against Carole Baskin on DWTS and whoever loses first goes to prison.
— m (@MercedesKills) September 16, 2020
This has been a controversial season of DWTS already. Their decision to replace Tom Bergeron with Tyra Banks sparked online debate immediately after it was announced. Also, Derek Hough stepping in as a judge instead of as a dancer has caused mixed reactions as well. It seems as though Dancing With the Stars is attempting to rebrand and change things up nearly 30 years after the show’s official premiere.
Friendly reminder that Tom Bergeron being fired from #DWTS is ageist, Tyra Banks is a terrible host, and Carole Baskin killed her husband.
— nashBBfan (@nashBBfan) September 15, 2020
Carole Baskin may or may not be a murderer, but she still remains a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. And if one thing is certain, this is going to be a very interesting season.
What do you think of Carole Baskin’s dancing? We may not know much about the evidence or investigation into Don Lewis’ death, but we can definitely judge her talent every Monday on ABC.